20 March 2017 – Astro-Weather: For those of you tired of winter weather, good news: Today is the Spring equinox. Earth’s vernal balance occurs at 11:15 am CDT, which marks the moment when the Sun crosses the celestial equator traveling north. The Sun rises due east & sets due west today.
After dark Leo strides up the eastern sky, with his brightest star Regulus in his forefoot & the Sickle of Leo extending upper left from there.
About two fists lower left of Regulus are the two stars of Leo’s rear end & tail: Delta Leonis & below it, slightly brighter Beta Leonis, or Denebola, the tail tip
As evening grows late & this scene rises higher, look left of Denebola, by a fist or a little bit more, for the big, dim Coma Berenices star cluster. Its brightest members form an upside-down, tilted Y. It’s visible even through some light pollution.
Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
“I turn to history not for lessons but to confront my experience with the experience of others and to win for myself a sense of responsibility for the state of the human conscience”. ~ Zbigniew Herbert
Today is the Illinois Primary – Don’t forget to VOTE
Nowruz (Persian: literally “New Day”) the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year. Nowruz is partly rooted in the traditions of Mitraism & Zoroastrianism. In Mitraism, festivals had a deep linkage with the sun light. The Iranian festivals such as Mehrgan (autumnal equinox), Tirgan, & the eve of Chelle ye Zemestan (winter solstice) also had an origin in the Sun god (Surya). Among other ideas, Zoroastrianism is the first monotheistic religion that emphasizes broad concepts; such as the corresponding work of good & evil in the world,& the connection of humans to nature. Zoroastrian practices were dominant for much of the history of ancient Iran.
Although having Iranian & religious Zoroastrian origins, Nowruz has been celebrated by people from diverse ethno-linguistic communities for thousands of years. It is a secular holiday for most celebrants that is enjoyed by people of several different faiths, but remains a holy day for Zoroastrians
OSTARA (pronounced O-STAR-ah) is celebrated on the Vernal or Spring Equinox. The name for this Sabbat actually comes from that of the Teutonic lunar Goddess, Eostre. Her chief symbols are the bunny (for fertility & because the Ancient Ones who worshiped her often saw the image of a rabbit in the full moon), & the egg (representing the cosmic egg of creation). This is where the customs of “Easter Eggs” & the “Easter Bunny” originated.
Ostara is a time to celebrate the arrival of Spring, the renewal & rebirth of Nature herself, & the coming lushness of Summer. It is at this time when light & darkness are in balance, yet the light is growing stronger by the day. The forces of masculine & feminine energy, yin & yang, are also in balance at this time. At this time we think of renewing ourselves. We renew our thoughts, our dreams, & our aspirations. We think of renewing our relationships. This is an excellent time of year to begin anything new or to completely revitalize something. This is also an excellent month for prosperity rituals or rituals that have anything to do with growth.
Customs such as the lighting of new fires at dawn for healing, renewed life, & protection of the crops still survive in the Southern Americas as well as in Europe. Eggs were gathered & used for the creation of talismans & also ritually eaten. The gathering of different colored eggs from the nests of a variety of birds has given rise to two traditions still observed today – the Easter egg hunt, & coloring eggs in imitation of the various pastel colors of wild birds. It is also believed that humankind first got the idea of weaving baskets from watching birds weave nests. This is perhaps the origin of the association between colored Easter eggs & Easter baskets.
There is much symbolism in eggs themselves. The golden orb of its yolk represents the Sun God, its white shell is seen as the White Goddess, & the whole is a symbol of rebirth. The Goddess Eostre’s patron animal was the hare.
The Spring Equinox is a time of new beginnings, of action, of planting seeds for future grains, & of tending gardens. Spring is a time of the Earth’s renewal, a rousing of nature after the cold sleep of winter. As such, it is an ideal time to clean your home to welcome the new season. “Spring cleaning” is much more than simply physical work. It may be seen as a concentrated effort to rid your home of the problems & negativity of the past months, & to prepare for the coming spring and summer. To do this, we may approach the task of cleaning our homes with positive thoughts. This frees the home of any negative feelings brought about by a harsh winter. A common rule of thumb for Spring cleaning is that all motions involving scrubbing of stains or hand rubbing the floors should be done “clockwise”. This custom aids in filling the home with good energy for growth.
Appropriate Deities for Ostara include all Youthful and Virile Gods and Goddesses, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, Love Goddesses, Moon Gods and Goddesses, & all Fertility Deities. Some Ostara Deities to mention by name here include Persephone, Blodeuwedd, Eostre, Aphrodite, Athena, Cybele, Gaia, Hera, Isis, Ishtar, Minerva, Venus, Robin of the Woods, the Green Man, Cernunnos, Lord of the Greenwood, The Dagda, Attis, The Great Horned God, Mithras, Odin, Thoth, Osiris, & Pan.
Key actions to keep in mind during this time in the Wheel of the Year include openings & new beginnings. Work for improving communication & group interaction are recommended, as well as fertility & abundance. Ostara is a good time to start putting those plans and preparations you made at Imbolc into action. Start working towards physically manifesting your plans now
43 BC – Birthday of Ovid, Roman poet
303 – Birthday of Saint Alexandra of Rome, wife of the Emperor Diocletian who secretly converted to Christianity. While Saint George was being tortured, Alexandra went to the arena, bowed before him & professed her faith openly. When she questioned whether she was worthy of paradise & of martyrdom without being baptized, Saint George told her “Do not fear, for your blood will baptize you.” She was denounced a Christian & imprisoned on her husband’s orders in Nicomedia, then sentenced to die. Her husband was so outraged by her conversion that he is said to have uttered “What! Even thou hast fallen under their spell!”
1602 – The Dutch East India Company is established
1616 – Sir Walter Raleigh is freed from the Tower of London after 13 years of imprisonment
1726 – Deathday of Isaac Newton, English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, & philosopher
1760 – The Great Boston Fire destroys 349 buildings
1815 – After escaping from Elba, Napoleon enters Paris beginning his “Hundred Days” rule
1828 – Birthday of Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian poet, playwright, & director
1852 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published
1861 – An earthquake completely destroys Mendoza, Argentina
1915 – Albert Einstein publishes his general theory of relativity
1922 – The USS Langley is commissioned as the first United States Navy aircraft carrier
1923 – The Arts Club of Chicago hosts the opening of Pablo Picasso‘s first United States showing, entitled Original Drawings by Pablo Picasso, becoming an early proponent of modern art in the United States
1928 – Birthday of Fred Rogers, American television host & producer
1933 – Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler ordered the creation of Dachau concentration camp as Chief of Police of Munich & appointed Theodor Eicke as the camp commandant.
1995 – The Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo carries out a sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, killing 12 and wounding over 1,300 people.
2003 – Invasion of Iraq: In the early hours of the morning, the United States and three other countries (the UK, Australia and Poland) begin military operations in Iraq
2012 – At least 52 people are killed and more than 250 injured in a wave of terror attacks across ten cities in Iraq
2015 – A Solar eclipse, equinox, & a Supermoon all occur on the same day
POD (Poem Of the Day)
~ TODAY I AM
Cupped in the hands of beggars
Yawning on every street corner,
& in the small dark mouth of a bird…
“Spring is coming, spring is coming
birdies build your nest.
weave together straw and feather
doing each your best.
spring is coming, spring is coming
flowers are waking, too.
daisies, lilies, and daffodils
now are coming through.
spring is coming, spring is coming
all around is fair.
shimmer, glimmer on the meadow,
joy is everywhere.”
Equinox means “equal night” when the sun is positioned above the equator & day and night are about equal in length all over the world. This is the start of the Astrological year. Many ancient cultures built structures to point directly toward the rising Sun on this day every year. The celebration of the Vernal Equinox is about new life & hope, the planting of seeds & the activation of the fertility cycle.
A look into the ancient Mystery Schools honoring The Vernal Equinox: The Spring Equinox is also called: Alban Eilir, Eostar, Eostre, Feast of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Festival of Trees, Lady Day, NawRuz, No Ruz, Ostara, Ostra, Rites of Spring. The Old Testament heroine of Spring was the goddess Ishtar- Persian for ‘star'(Esther is the Aramaic word for Ishtar). So Ishtar was the goddess of the morning & evening star, as well as being the Great Mother, Shining One, Lady of Visions, Priestess of Priestess’, she was the source of the Oracles of Prophesy, & Possessor of the Tablets of Life’s Records.Her symbols were the eight pointed star, the pentagram, dove, serpents, & the double axe. Her planet was Venus. She wore a rainbow necklace. The Persians converted this necklace (the rainbow) into a razor-sharp bridge that led to the Mount of Paradise. In ancient Sumeria, she had 180 shrines where women gathered daily for prayer, meditation, & socializing. The night of the full moon, known as Shapatu, saw joyous celebrations in her temples.
In Ireland, the spring equinox was celebrated long before the arrival of the Celtic tribes. The best known of the ancient Irish equinox temples is Knowth, which is near to Newgrange (Brú na Boinne). Knowth has a 100-foot long passage that accepts the Sun on the morning of the Spring & Autumn Equinox. A second & older stone cairn equinox temple is found at Longhcrew & is given the name Cairn T. Both Knowth & Cairn follow a sunbeam on the morning of the Equinoxs to enter a passageway lighting up the sacred geometry on a back stone inside the temple. This precise timing from a period of over 6 thousand years ago still works today.
The German fertility Goddess was Ostara, who was associated with fertility. Ostara mated with the solar god on the Spring Equinox & nine months later she gave birth to a child at the Winter Solstice.
The Saxon name for the Germanic lunar goddess Ostara was Eostre. Her festival was held at the full moon after the Spring Equinox just like our Easter celebrations.
The Mayans of Central American have also honoured the spring equinox. For ten centuries they have held their unique celebration using their ancient knowledge of the Sunbeam. El Castillo is the name of their great pyramid of the Equinox & as the sunsets on its western face light & dark compliment each other creating a very special pattern of a diamond backed snake descending the pyramid. This solar magic has always been known as the “The Return of the Sun Serpent”.
For the Greeks the god-man of the Spring Equinox was Dionysus. He was associated with flowering plants & fruitful vines & he was always in pain during winter, symbolizing hibernation & the cessation of growth. He returned triumphant on the Spring Equinox & many researchers see direct parallels with the story of Jesus Christ.
Mesopotamia, Sumeria, Babylonia, Elam (5000 years ago) celebrated the start of their new year at the time of the spring equinox. Zoroastrianism was the religion of Ancient Persia until the advent of Islam 1400 years ago. “Nooruz,” their ‘new day’ or New Year was celebrated on the Spring Equinox. Many religious historians connect Judeo-Christian concepts to Zoroastrianism.
In Rome, about 200 years before the birth of Christ there was a wide range of what are today called “mystery cults”. Attis & Cybele held their Spring Equinox rituals at the location of today’s St. Peter’s on Vatican hill. Attis was also known under various names such as Osiris, Dionysus, Tammuz & Orpheus. The Attis & Cybele festival had a death or day of blood & three days of semi-death & then a return to life for the deceased. Attis‘s mother was called Nana & she was a virgin. Attis was crucified on a pine tree. His blood was spilled to redeem the earth. Attis was both a sacrificial victim & a savior, his death & re-birth was intended to bring salvation to mankind. Most researchers will say that Attis is clearly a prefiguring prototype for The Christ.
In Judaism we can see that the Passover dinner was their spring fertility festival. It records the escape of the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt – its main meal was of unleavened bread & lamb.
In America the native Indians honoured the Spring Equinox in landscape-sized temples such as Mystery Hill in Salem NH. Five standing stones & one recumbent stone are set in a linear alignment that connects the sunrise on both the Spring & Autumn Equinoxes.
March 20-23, is the mid-point of the Waxing Year. The spark of light that was born at Winter Solstice has reached maturity, & from this point forward, the days grow longer than the nights. This is the time of full Dawn, 6:00 a.m. on the Year Clock, & so was the time of the festivals of the Grecian Goddess, Eostre, & the Germanic Ostara, both Goddesses of Dawn. (It is from these Bright Ladies that the modern Easter holiday takes its name). This is the time that is often seen as the time of Kore’s return from the Underworld, where She (as Persephone) has ruled throughout the Winter. It is also the time of the celebration of the rebirth of Adonis the Beautiful.
Spring is the time for a celebration of planting & of the greening of the Earth. Folks start to talk about having ‘Spring Fever’ & doing ‘Spring cleaning’, as the brighter sunshine provides a needed morale boost.
Many traditions associated with Spring Equinox have been retained over the years & grafted onto the Easter celebration. Even today, people arise early on Easter morning to attend ‘Sunrise Service’. (Remember Eostre, the Dawn Goddess?)
May this time of new beginnings bring you the fresh start you need, as you begin to plan & to plant the seeds for the future you want to see grow with the light.
Our Monthly Community Conversation
Friday March 23rd 2018 – 7 pm – 9 pm
Come be part of our ongoing Goethean Conversation about the future of Anthroposophy and its cultivation here in Chicago.
The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreuz –
Our Holy Week Study & Easter Festival
Palm Sunday, March 25th – 2 pm – 4 pm,
Holy Monday – Good Friday, March 26- 30th – 7 pm – 9 pm
Holy Saturday March 31st & Easter Sunday, April 1st 2018 – 2 pm – 4 pm
This primary Rosicrucian text provides a 7 stage initiation, which we will traverse together on each of the days of Holy Week. We will discuss the symbolism & render some of the images from the text using various artistic mediums.
Please print your own copy
for more info. Contact Hazel (at) ReverseRitual.com
Rudolf Steiner Branch of The Anthroposophical Society, 4249 North Lincoln Avenue. Chicago, IL 60618 (map) Check out our Web site! Chicago, IL (Anthroposophical Society in America)
The newly renovated (& lazured) Elderberries 3-Fold Space is currently available for rental on PEER SPACE for classes, events, meetings, retreats, art exhibits, family parties, etc…